The Michigan Times

Downtown Flint Offers Artistic Adventures

Madeline Ciak

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First impressions are everything when it comes to downtown Flint, but its thriving art scene and the bold, bright handcrafted art that filled the sidewalks and galleries during Artwalk introduced students to a side of Flint that they would not have normally seen.

Students gathered on the first floor of the UCEN in anticipation of the walk that would ultimately lead them to the Flint Farmers’ Market, which was hosting the a Hispanic Heritage Festival that evening. Orientation Leaders from UM-Flint’s Student Success Center acted as tour guides and led large groups of students, many of which were freshmen and international students, through downtown Flint.

Orientation Leader and junior psychology major Avery Mitveski said she believes that Artwalk is a unique event that all students should attend at least once.

“If students don’t participate, they might miss out on exploring places that they’ll love and not see all that Flint’s artists have to offer,” said Mitveski.

In addition, she feels that Artwalk has the power to change students’ perceptions about downtown Flint.

“Many students think that there isn’t much to do in Flint, and it’s important to get them out into the community and get them to have fun and interact with other people,” said Mitevski.

The four-block walk featured a wide variety of handmade art, and also exposed students to Flint’s art galleries, such as Buckham Gallery and the Greater Flint Arts Council.

Dr. Sarah Lippert, who was viewing the “Anti Thesis” exhibit at Buckham Gallery the night of Artwalk said she believes that Artwalk is a great opportunity for students to experience the vitality of Flint’s art first hand.

“Art is alive and well in Flint, and contemporary art like what can be found at Buckham Gallery proves that,” said Lippert.

Other stops included The Lunch Studio, where the sidewalk was filled with handmade items such as jewelry, knitted stuffed animals and refinished home decor items and the First Presbyterian Church of Flint, which had an array of quilts multicolored and three-dimensional quilts on display for this year’s Flint Festival of Quilts as well as the church’s stained glass, which was junior biology major Menusha Arumugam’s favorite part of Artwalk.

“The stained glass looks mysterious, but beautiful and is very calming to look at. This was the most peaceful part of Artwalk,” said Arumugam.

Brittany Echols, a freshman social work major who lives in Flint and has never attended Artwalk said she believes that the event gave her a better opportunity to become more familiar with the community that surrounds campus.

“I got to explore so many different places that I’d never been to before, and I’d definitely like to attend Artwalk again,” said Echols.

Students were also able to watch art be created right before their eyes while on their way to GFAC; Dan Lauber had set up his sidewalk spray paint art studio near the McCree Building on Saginaw Street and began to create works that included neon-colored landscapes and planets while using the tops of five-gallon buckets and other circular-shaped objects. Lauber has been creating landscapes and planets for six years.

“I enjoy showing people something that they’ve never seen before and setting up during Artwalk gives me an opportunity to interact with a lot of different people,” said Lauber.

Artwalk1

Orientation Leaders Mary Lenhart and Avery Mitevski led the way through downtown Flint during Artwalk.

Artwalk2

Senior biochemistry major Alex Rizo stopped at Jennifer Alexander’s booth “Allora Art and Design,” which was located in front of The Lunch Studio during Artwalk.

Artwalk3

Orientation Leader Livingstone Gowon posed with a group of students while giving them a tour during Artwalk.

Rose Laube, 7, of Genesee watches intently as Dan Lauber works on creating a stunning spray painted planet paining.

Rose Laube, 7, of Genesee watches intently as Dan Lauber works on creating a stunning spray painted planet painting.

 

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